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Recruit Update ▲ BC High’s Jayson Dobay Commits To UMass

 

One of the criticisms of the John Micheletto era at UMass was that he did not seem to make much of an effort to lure Bay State recruits to the state’s flagship university.  New coach Greg Carvel  talked about targeting local talented players when he was hired and just a few months into his regime he has landed his first in-state commitment.  Defenseman Jayson Dobay, who this past season played for BC High, announced his commitment on Twitter last night:

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View From Section U ▲ Season Recap

 

John Micheletto’s fourth season as head coach was extremely disappointing and frustrating, at least from a fan’s perspective, and it ultimately cost him his job.  It was thought the team’s fortunes could only go up after last season’s 11-23-2 record and last place finish in Hockey East.  Yes, the Minutemen lost some key players in the offseason, but we were led to believe that Micheletto was bringing in the best recruiting class in years, including revamping the defense with multiple NHL-worthy blueliners.  Instead the upgrade in skill couldn’t overcome what still a bad scheme put forth by the coach and for the second straight year the Minutemen had one of the worst goals against in the country.  When the offense faltered halfway through the season the wheels came off and the end result was a second straight year in the Hockey East cellar, a 8-24-4 record, and an end to the Micheletto era at UMass.

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Recap ▲ UMass Swept By Providence, Will Travel To BU For Playoffs

The Massachusetts hockey team closed out the regular season in uninspiring fashion, getting outscored 10-1 by the #5 Providence Friars in a weekend sweep.  UMass finished their regular season with a record of 8-22-4 and went 2-21-3 over their last 26 games.  Both of the most recent two wins came in overtime against two lower end Atlantic Hockey teams.  UMass went 2-16-4 in Hockey East play, finishing in last place for the second straight season.  The team went 0-15-3 in their final 18 league games and for that performance they’ll travel to Boston University for the first round of the Hockey East playoffs in what should be the final games of the John Micheletto era at UMass.

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Recap ▲ Lowell Sweeps Season Series Over UMass With 4-2 Win

For the fourth time in the last five years the Massachusetts hockey team was swept by its fellow UMass system foe with Lowell gaining their most recent victory 4-2 Friday night.  The loss brought UMass’ record against the River Hawks to a pitiful 1-13-1 over the last half a decade.  The Minutemen have not won the season series against Lowell since a three game sweep in 2010-2011.

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View From Section U ▲ Micheletto’s Boyle Blunder

Kevin Boyle committed to play hockey at the University of Massachusetts in February of 2009 at age 16.  After a couple more seasons of juniors, one year played in his native New Jersey and the other on the west coast of Canada, he came to Amherst in the fall of 2011.  He would make his debut in the opening game of the season, a 3-3 tie at Northeastern where he made 29 saves.  A week later he made his Mullins Center debut and got his first collegiate win in a 5-3 decision over Bentley.  If all had gone to plan Boyle would’ve played his last game as a senior last February.  But things did not go as planned.  Instead he’ll make his final appearance in Amherst this Friday.  He’ll be wearing a UMass sweater, but not one adorned with maroon and white.  Instead it’ll be the red and blue jersey of UMass-Lowell where Boyle is putting up excellent numbers in net for a top ten team with their sights set on the NCAA tournament.

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Preview ▲ UMass Returns To Hockey East Play With Trip To #11 Boston University

Massachusetts Minutemen 7-9-4 (2-4-4) Hockey East T-7th

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#11 Boston University Terriers 10-6-3 (4-3-2) Hockey East T-4th

The Massachusetts Minutemen kick off the second half of Hockey East play with a pretty tough matchup as they travel to Comm Ave to take on the #11 Boston University Terriers.  It’s the first meeting of the year between the two teams.  It’ll be the second game of the week for both squads as UMass fell in overtime to #12 Yale on Tuesday while BU had a dramatic come from behind win at #5 Harvard on Thursday.  UMass will look to start the league home stretch with at least a point, but that’s going to be tough to do against a skilled Terrier team.

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Recap ▲ Third Period Rally Falls Short As Minutemen Lose To #12 Yale In OT

The good news is despite missing some key players the Massachusetts hockey team did much better against 12th ranked Yale, a team that had beaten them 6-1 earlier in the season.  The bad news is the result was another UMass loss as Yale prevailed 3-2 in overtime.  The Minutemen overcame a 2-0 deficit and some dominant play by the Bulldogs through the first two periods to stage a 3rd period rally, netting two in the 3rd period and sending the game to overtime.  But an ill-timed penalty in the extra frame put the Minutemen at a disadvantage and Yale got the game winner just seconds after the Bulldog power play expired.

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Recap ▲ Minutemen Start 2016 With A Victory Over Army, End Nine Game Winless Streak

After finishing 2015 with a nine game winless streak and five game losing streak the Massachusetts hockey team got the new year started on the right foot with an overtime win over Army West Point.  Captain Steven Iacobellis scored the game winner early into the extra frame to give the Minutemen the 2-1 win over the Black Knights.  UMass was able to overcome the absence of a number of key players and bring their record back to one game under .500 at 7-8-4.

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Recap ▲ Boston College Blitzes UMass 7-0

Boston College 7.  Massachusetts 0.

These blowouts were supposed to be a thing of the past.  Over the summer Massachusetts hockey coach John Micheletto re-tooled his defense, bringing in four players who are either already drafted, attended an NHL prospect camp this summer, or are projected to be drafted next June.  Or some combination of all three.  In net, Micheletto finally landed the high profile goaltender he’s been coveting, with the top Junior A player in all of Canada landing in Amherst during the offseason.  Yet, here we are a month into the season and UMass finds itself 56th in the country in goals against after giving up 23 goals in the last 4 games.  They are also 56th in penalty kill with opponents scoring a third of the time on the power play.  Players leave.  New players come in.  But the program continues to be dogged by major defensive deficiencies.

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Weekend Preview ▲ Minutemen Head West To Open Season Against Colorado College

Colorado College Tigers 0-0-0 (0-0-0) T-1st NCHC

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Massachusetts Minutemen 0-0-0 (0-0-0) T-1st Hockey East

The Massachusetts hockey program travels to the foot of the Rockies to open the 2015-16 season.  The Minutemen taking on the Colorado College Tigers to kick off the season won’t be seen as one of the marquee opening weekend matchups, but it is a very interesting one.  And while I don’t know if I’d go as far as saying whatever happens this weekend will be a precursor to the entire season, it should at least give UMass fans a glimpse of what the team may be capable of in the early going.

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